As a businessman and Chamber of Commerce member Zachariah Turpin is proud of the shopping experience Jackson offers. There’s a variety of retailers, he said, and they offer personal touch you don’t always find in other locales.
“Jackson has a really diverse, unique downtown,” said Turpin, owner of Jackson Hole Jewelry Co. at 60 E. Broadway. “You can walk into any number of the stores and speak to an owner. ... In a lot of resort towns that is not always the case.”
With online shopping and big box stores with blowout sales, however, it can be easy to overlook the local possibilities.
So starting Friday, Jackson Hole Jewelry Co. and 25 other businesses hope to entice people to spend their holiday shopping dollars where they live by offering the chance to win shopping sprees in a drawing.
Through the Chamber of Commerce’s Winter Windfall promotion, browsers can pick up one free ticket a day per person at participating businesses (see box). They can put a second ticket in their pocket by making a purchase in any amount and another ticket for each additional $100 they spend on top of that.
The grand prize is $2,000 in shopping credits, which the winner can use at the store where he or she got the winning ticket, plus two additional stores on the list of 26. Second and third place win $1,000 and $500 in credits.
Winter Windfall runs through Dec. 18, and the winners will be announced Dec. 20, in time to use their booty for last-minute gift buying.
“There are so many different ways people can shop nowadays,” said Rick Howe, the chamber’s vice president. “We wanted to celebrate the uniqueness of this community and the shops.”
Another participating retailer is Workshop-Susan Fleming Jewelry at 180 E. Deloney Ave. Owner Susan Fleming appreciates how Winter Windfall brings the business community together and promotes keeping dollars local.
“I like it for both those reasons,” she said.
And the timing is good, too.
“We rely heavily on tourists, obviously, but doing something at this time of year shows appreciation for our locals and our year-round steady customers, which I also think is really important,” she said.
This is the second Winter Windfall. The chamber introduced it last year to give members a boost during weeks when they don’t see as many people walking through their doors.
Howe said the two days after Thanksgiving — aka Black Friday and Small Business Saturday — are busy. But chamber members report that things slow down the Sunday and Monday after that and pick up only as Dec. 25 looms and people panic about their gift lists.
“It will die down until Dec. 20, until everybody says, ‘My gosh, I have to do all this Christmas and holiday shopping,’” he said.
Winter Windfall 2019 is a bit different than last year. Twenty-six businesses will have tickets, versus 19 in 2018. Many are returnees.
“We participated in Winter Windfall last year and really enjoyed the local traffic it drew, especially between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which can be slower here,” said Margo Weber, brand and e-commerce manager for New West KnifeWorks, at 98 Center St.
Also, the chamber’s Business Development Committee rejiggered the rules for getting tickets. Last year, in addition to their free ticket, shoppers received one for every $20 they spent. Around 72,000 tickets went into the drawing, Howe said. Of those, around 65,000 were tickets associated with purchases.
Trouble was, it was hard for the chamber and the participating businesses to keep up.
“We issued hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands,” said Turpin, who is on the Business Development Committee. “I basically had carpal tunnel by the end of it.”
This year the free ticket still gets people in the door, Howe said. Then, under the new system, they have a higher chance of winning.
To the extent that Winter Windfall encourages local shopping, research shows that will be good for the valley’s economy.
According to the Small Business Economic Impact Study from American Express, every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity as a result of employee spending and businesses purchasing local goods and services.
But when residents are out roaming local shops there’s a feel-good effect as well.
“It fosters a sense of community,” Turpin said.
Howe said Jackson businesses step up to the plate 12 months out of the year to donate merchandise, services and sponsorships for fundraisers, community events and benefits.
“These are all the people that contribute to all these benefits and all these causes all year long,” he said. “And this is one of the ways to show we appreciate that ... and possibly win some cash.”